Kosie Lategan was appointed to the position of head guide at Tswalu Kalahari Reserve in early 2020. He recently completed his Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) Specialist Field Guide, or Level 3, qualification as well as his Trails Guide certificate. He is currently working towards his advanced birding, or SKS (Birding), certificate.
Kosie was awarded his National Diploma in Game Ranch Management from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. He then decided to become a field guide, and completed his training through African Nature Training. His career started in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where he worked on the Sabi Sabi private concession. He later worked on Lion Sands’ private concessions in the Kruger National Park, and also hosted many specialised photographic safaris through Wild4 Photographic Safaris.
Like many of his fellow guides, Kosie enjoys the immense freedom of traversing Tswalu’s vast open spaces – as the largest private game reserve in South Africa – and also the flexibility and creativity that goes into planning highly personalised safaris for each new guest.
‘All guests have the use of their own private vehicle and guiding team at the Motse Lodge and at Tarkuni, of course, which means they can choose when they want to go out on game drives, or whether they’d like to do a walking or horseback safari instead.’
In the cold but dry winter months, a later start is often preferred and guests may choose to stay out all day on the reserve with a comprehensive packed lunch. In the hot summer months, getting up early to beat the heat and enjoy the sunrise is recommended. Night drives are also popular, leaving long afternoons free to siesta and swim. Every day is tailor-made, depending on the guests’ specific interests and energy levels. Wildlife photographers and families, in particular, appreciate having a vehicle, guide and tracker all to themselves.
So, what advice would Kosie give to a young guide, starting out?
‘Learn from more experienced guides, but don’t try and be like someone else. Develop your own style, and never stop learning.’
All images by Kosie Lategan